At Fulcrum Care Limited, we pride ourselves on our flexibility, adaptability and commitment to driving your care home forwards. Last weekend, we were faced with a critical situation which required all three of these values that underpin our company to provide urgent help to a client issued with a CQC Section 31 Letter of Concern. Our care consultancy task force swung into action – buying the care home provider time to implement long-term changes to address the issues that have been raised.
We’ve had a busy fortnight at Fulcrum; we’ve had five new projects over the past two weeks, some of which have not been scheduled in advance, with the care homes in question requiring urgent consultancy and management support. Although it’s been hectic and put us through our paces, we don’t mind at all; in fact, it’s what we thrive on!
We specialise in being adaptable for our clients, appreciating situations in a care home can escalate quickly. This was the position that one of our customers found themselves in last weekend, with the CQC paying them a visit and stating that they would be issuing a Section 31 (Letter of Concern). When faced with this devastating news, the care home provider turned to us to help them impelement a crisis management plan.
Assembling a team to help the care home
The CQC had already visited the care home in August and had issued it with a warning detailing the areas that needed improvement. They then returned in September and were unsatisfied with the steps that the care home had taken and the situation was now critical. When our clients reached out to us at 7pm Friday evening, we knew we had to act quickly.
Despite it being the weekend, we knew the matter couldn’t wait until Monday morning as a Section 31 can easily result in the closure of a care home. We put together a specialist team of Fulcrum consultants who could travel to see the care home over the weekend and start to put together a plan for improvement. We settled on five specialists whose skillsets compliment each other, including a nurse, an operations specialist and our CEO, Tony Thiru.
Delivering immediate action
Our first step was to audit the areas identified as requiring improvement, alongside the insights from the CQC findings, to enable us to identify what was going wrong and start devising solutions. Given the urgency of the situation, we created mini action plans to address these with immediate effect, including:
- Skin care
- Nutrition support
- Staffing levels
- Infection prevention and control
- Staff training
- Resident risk register
- Quality assurance/monitoring audits
Reassuring the stakeholders
The best way of navigating all of these stakeholders is by understanding that ultimately they all want the same thing: the best care for the residents. Once this is appreciated, it becomes easier to look at the stakeholders as a collective, instead of lots of individuals with contrasting views. Our remedial, reactive action plans provided crucial reassurance to the key stakeholders, including:
- Residents: Always the focal point of all our care home management plans and consultancy – and in all effective care home management – their wellbeing and peace of mind was pivotal within our plans and communications.
- Families of the residents: Ensuring relatives remain confident their loved one is receiving appropriate, safe care is essential, so we urged the care home owners to communicate proactively with families what was going on and the remedial steps beings taken.
- The local authority: The local authority visited four times over the weekend to ensure that swift remedial action was being taken to address the most pressing concerns, and got to see the Fulcrum team in action. They were reassured sufficiently by what they saw.
- The CQC: By evidencing our audits and mini action plans, we were similarly able to reassure the CQC that the right initial steps had been taken.
Buying time to effect long-term change
Reactive, crisis care home consultancy cannot provide a blue print for effecting long-term changes and solutions, but our task force of expert care home consultants were able to provide immediate solutions to the most pressing issues to persuade both the local authority and the CQC that the care home is making the right initial steps and to give the owners and management time to implement strategic plans to deliver the improvements required.
A decision as to the future of the care home is still to be determined, but clearly through our flexible, proactive and intelligent care consultancy, they have been given the best possible chance to remain open as a care home and improve over the next few months.
Importantly, this has also enabled the residents to remain in their home, and not to face the physical and mental demands of being moved at short notice to an unfamiliar environment, not to mention the additional strain that this would create for their families. It has also secured the jobs of all the staff in the home.
Clearly, this care home’s story is far from over. But thanks to our flexible reactive care consultancy, they were able to navigate their way through a crisis and have a better chance of being allowed to remain open and implement improvements to help them to thrive. If you require flexible care consultancy, please get in touch: 020 3411 4014 or firstname.lastname@example.org